Whiteness aka “Mierdocracia” and Poblacion in Santiago, Chile
The craziest thing is that the Chilean brown, or the less white, idolizes the white of the public sphere, whereas there is a lot more, I think, “brown power” as it were, in other countries where the indigenous population maintained its identity. I wonder where the dark-skinned Gabriel “Gato” Gaspar, former Defense Minister, stands on this issue. I wonder how Benito Juarez, a dark-skinned indigenous president of Mexico came to power and stayed there for five terms from 1858 to 1872
Chileans aspire to be white, because white is supposedly better and “richer.” Im not sure where people got this idea.
Is cuico status secretly aspired to? Not completely, because they are shunned by the not-cuicos, declares the 25 year old visiting “domestic worker” (in Chile an accountant, baker and pastry maker, taxi-cab driver) from La Granja at my house, in the middle-quality private and technical universities along Avda. Republica, for the esforzada yet not privileged students from neighborhoods like La Granja, and privileged yet lazy students. Maybe that is because they get shunned first.
I was talking to the Chilean half of a couple doing an epic film on Chilean hiphop, “4 Ramas, 4 Armas”. He is from a población originally and in the course of their interviews for the film he got to know young kids from the poblaciones around Santiago. He was one of them 20 years ago, he told me.
Yet, now, he says, their values are skewed towards consumerism, posturing and image, aspiring to the advertised images of success in Chilean society, that of Falabella, Ripley, etc…consumer items. Sorry, no brown people found there.
The población and its inhabitants, he said, has lost its values. There used to be dirt roads, no shoes and poverty, but also a community of people in solidarity. There were craftsmen, and almacenes and huertas and cerrajeros. On the 40th year of the establishment of the original “poblacion callampa,” Herminda de la Victoria what has happened to the values of the people who founded it?
This is the”woodcutter,” from the poblacion of Huechuraba, about thirty minutes from the center of Santiago, a man who was in jail at thirty and now at 42 leads a clean life.
While there are no gangs where he lives, there are groups and some individuals who are called “domesticos”; or those who rob from the people in their own neighborhood.
Robbing from people who go out day after day, in his case in the rain, to saw wood, collect cardboard or tin cans, work as maids, or garbage collectors.
He has robbed from people in the past (I guess not the poor), he says, but if one of those “domesticos”; were to come in his house, he’d kill them.
Where is the real poblacion which used to represent Chile during the heady days of the late-sixties and early seventies, and then in the protests to Pinochet in the mid-80’s? Where are the homegrown experts from poblacion on public health or transportation which famously confronted a “Comunista del Salon” of Allende’s government with a plan better and more comprehensive than that of the government. (somebody…(anybody) help me…as i can’t remember the exact details of this televised encounter)
Is credit the devil, or capitalism, or the people themselves? Who knows? Do these people talk about their experiences in the “blogosphere?” Is the toma of Penalolen the only example we have a living, breathing and advancing poblacion?